laundry businessFOR Engr. Fred Lumabas of Kalinisan Laundry, the growth of the Philippine’s personal laundry services is proving to be a boon for the business. “People are becoming more aware kung ano ang tunay na laundry,” he said, “which in turn, increases the demand for the service.”

Lumabas also cited the tourism boom and the difficulty of looking for laundrywomen as other factors that make laundry business feasible.

Starting the business
It is advisable that one should start with a feasibility study because initial capital can run up to millions of pesos. “Make a study of whom you’re going to serve” Lumabas suggested. “Consider, too, the availability of good quality water and your accessibility to target customers.”

With that, he related how Kalinisan Laundry started. “You see, we have this chain of hotels in Manila. We had our laundry done by one company. But the quality was not going up and up. So we did a study. In that study, we found out that it was then viable to start a laundry business. After that, I started buying second hand laundry equipment from the United States. With five machines, we started doing our own laundry in a small place in Makati in 1985. Each machine did 600 kilos for one-and-a-half-hours. With such capacity, we started doing the laundry of other hotels, restaurants, and fitness clubs, too. Later, we also washed export garments. Nang naging expensive ang lot sa Makati, we moved to Bagong Bayan, Quezon City two years after.”

Equipment
“Well, we started with second-hand washer extractors – eto ang mga machines na naglalaba, tapos nagpipiga,” he said. “Through the years, nang lumaki na ang volume ng laundry, nagging modernized na kami. We have now the most modern laundry equipment which we call the tunnel washers.

“Computer-controlled ito from loading of dirty linens hanggang sa paglabas, dried na. Ang capacity nito, one ton (1,000 kilos) per hour.”

Lumabas advised against using washing machined designed for homes. “Hindi pupuwede ang mga washing machines na intended for domestic use since maliit lang ang capacity nito. Hindi pang-commercial laundry. Not durable enough for, say, 30 kilos, 50 kilos, 100 kilos up to 600 kilos. Besides, domestic use requires neutral detergents only. Whereas, sa commercial laundry, limang chemicals ang ginagamit.”

Financing and profitability
“If you’re starting with personal laundry, you will need a minimum of P5 million, covering investments in equipment, business area, and operating costs,” he said, adding that for institutional laundry, startup financing requires a much larger amount.

Lumabas disclosed that an entrepreneur may opt for franchising. “Pag franchised na laundry business, mas liberal ang terms; meaning, hulugan for so many years.”

Although both have proven to be profitable, personal and institutional laundry services differ in pricing, he explained. “Pag institutional, mura lang ang singil pero malaki and profitability kung malaki rin ang volume.

“Unlike sa personal laundry which is high margin, pero high risk. At saka, ang mga tao merong mga needs na dapat imi-meet ng personal laundry business.

“For example, kailangan mabilis, kailangan walang damit ng iba na nakahalo . . . that’s why personal laundry charges higher.”

Environmental impact
Before going into the business, the entrepreneur should think about being environmentally friendly. “Don’t think only about earning big profits,” Lumabas advised. “Think of your responsibility to the environment. You have to treat every liter of water you throw out.”

“In Kalinisan Laundry, we were able to put up our own water treatment plant since it was viable for us. Lahat ng pinaglabahan tini-treat naming, para pag labas sa canal, tama ang temperature, tama ang acidity, walang amoy, walang dumi, clear ang color.”

If at the start, an entrepreneur does not have enough to invest in a water treatment plant, Lumabas suggested that it would be more feasible to have the linens of restaurants and hotels contracted outside. “Mag concentrate ka na lang sa mga damit. That way, maliit lang ang water treatment na kakailanganin mo diyan.”*

(Kalinisan Laundry specializes in washing, drying, pressing, ironing, stain removal, linen recovery, textile rental services, clean room services, consultancy and audit services for on-premise laundries. Its Institutional Services specialized in garment washing services which include special finishes such as bio-wash, stonewash, stone bleach, pigment wash and enzyme wash. Its main office and plant is located on 10 Manggahan Street, Barrio Bagumbayan, Quezon City with tel. Nos. 635 – 0601 and 635- 0644)

Tips on How to Establish a Successful Laundry Shop

The following laundry business tips and suggestions were collated from entrepreneur.com.ph discussion board posted by forum members.

1. “Mag observe ka don ng weekdays and weekends. Para makita mo kung marami nga ang nagpapa laundry sa kanila. At least makikita mo kung kumikita nga sila or hindi..”- maneki_neko

2. “Give out flyers dun sa two big villagers about your new shop. If you can afford promos, the better. Pick-up and delivery would also be an advantage if your competitors doesn’t have one. IF you can do the leaflet giving, the better. That way you will have a personal touch when talking to people. Pwede mo pang maging suki. “- heiram888

3. “..If I may add, you should register to the DTI first before you make your logo, kasi baka masayang effort mo. In my case, ( i own a laundry shop) I made several alternates when i went to DTI, kasi nga ang dami nang laundry shops.”- etten

4. “..I would still suggest a brand new units para less maintenance mo…may kakilala kasi akong may laundry na bumili ng 2nd hand units tapos babae pa sya at walang kaalam alam sa repair ng machines, ayon kinakain lang ng maintenance cost yong income nya.”- denzon

5. “What we are doing para kahit papano kumita ng kunti is kumokontrata kami ng mga beauty parlor, restaurant, sometimes mga maliliit na hotel or resort para kami na maglaba ng mga gamit nila..with that meron kaming regular customer bukod sa mga araw araw na nagpapalaba. Try nyo rin ang ganitong strategy baka makatulong ng kunti ..”- ed sil

6. “..2. Use commercial detergent coz its really cheaper compared to branded one. Better yet, make your own..there are lots of seminars that teach you how to make detergent and softeners.
3. You have to use fabric softener for your laundry, coz they expect you to do that.
4. You don’t charge extra for using fabric softener, that should be included in your service.”- etten

7. “Is it important to have the shop beside a street where cars always pass by or pwede na sa looban neighborhood type street? Yes, mas maganda kung commercial/residential area ang pag lalagyan mo, looban is ok but don’t expect maraming customer.”- etten

8. “You can start with 250k, pero kung gusto mo maganda at may funds ka for utilities and rental, make it 350k. ROI depends sa pickup ng business, pag pumatok ka agad, expect your ROI in 5-8 months.”- etten

9. “For starter, you can hire 1 staff muna, tulungan mo na lang muna sya in receiving, though when i started the biz, ako mismo nag laundry sa shop..
salary rate is minimum.”- etten

10. “for starter, you can hire 1 staff muna, tulungan mo na lang muna sya in receiving, though when i started the biz, ako mismo nag laundry sa shop..
salary rate is minimum.”- etten

You can read the full thread here.

Source: Gamboa- Hilario, R. “Growing demand for laundry service”. Philippinestoday.net. http://www.philippinestoday.net/June2001/businessideas601.htm (accessed September 11, 2009).

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